Thursday, December 21, 2006

As succinct as the Gettysburg Address

Do you have any idea where the hell time goes? Criminy. I blink an eye and a week has passed. It’s insanity. And all this beta blogger nonsense and the change in Picasa picture posting has me irritated. I’m too old to adjust, dammit. Why do they keep messin’ with my programs? (Said while waving my cane at the screen.)

Think I can manage a quick review of the last week? Sure. But I can’t promise it will be all that interesting. Last Saturday we had a family-visitin’ day. First to Mom’s place to bake Christmas cookies. Her boyfriend has a family tradition of making Christmas cookies with his Grandkids and asked us to join them. It was lovely. Especially when Noah spent almost an hour chasing the 5, 6 and 7 year old girls around and Mark and I didn’t even have to keep tabs on him. Then we headed to my Dad’s where we ordered Chinese takeout and everyone watched me decorate the tree. Noah spent a good deal of time chasing Oma around the house and that seemed to be exactly what she needed to put a smile on her face. Sunday we went to Drexel’s Christmas party. It’s for the entire staff of the University and since about 1500 people attend it’s not entirely lavish, and there is no open bar. But the cranberry punch is delish and they have magicians and story time for the kids. The big draws this year were a performance by the Rockettes and you could get your family photo taken and superimposed on a bunch of silly backgrounds. We stuck with a snowy forest landscape. I know – we’re boring. The party was held in the Great Court, which is (as you can see from the link) stunning, and also the building in which Mark works. However as striking as it is, it doesn’t lend itself well to the sheer size of the party. It’s not only a bit too crowded and hard to navigate, it’s also very sparse on seating which is difficult when you have a toddler. But seatless though we were, we still had a nice time.

On Monday we decided to spend a few hours of the 60 degree day (is this REALLY December?) at Morris Arboretum with Wendy and Victor. On Tuesday we went to Toddler storytime in the morning and then Janette and Jules came by in the evening. Yesterday I had an unpleasant bathroom emergency at BJs, and though I go there for the sole purpose of buying that child giant vats of apple juice and Cheezits, he decided not to be kind and discrete and instead repeatedly and loudly asked me if I was pooping. Ahem. Somehow I survived that. In the evening Mark watched Noah so I could go by some stocking stuffers. I realized just recently that since I told him that Santa will fill our stockings, that I better indeed put something into those belonging to Mark and myself.

Today we met my former co-worker and friend Jeff downtown for lunch. Again with the Chinese food. I’ve got some weird obsession about it lately. The dumplings in particular. After he treated (Bless your heart Jeff! Even after just closing on a new condo!) he sadly had to return to the office and thus did not get to join us when we headed to Macy’s to (YUP) once AGAIN go see the Dickens Village “puppets” and the light show. A grandmother sitting next to me with a cranky two year old little girl asked “What did you do to get such a beautiful and well behaved child?” To which I replied “Got lucky. Got very, very lucky.”

So what do the holidays have in store for us this crazy week? Tomorrow night we pop in to my friend Patty’s Christmas party – long enough to taunt the drunken singletons with the cuteness of our offspring, but not so long that they see what it’s like when said offspring becomes overtired and slightly less manageable. On Saturday we head to Jersey to have lunch with a friend of Mark’s from high school. He and his wife are in staying with his parents over the holidays, that is if they caught their flight out of Colorado despite the massive blizzard. And afterwards we’ll stop by Mark’s Dad's place to “see the tree” because no yuletide season is complete without tree seeing. Hopefully their tree is less crooked and haggard looking than ours after it’s been pawed at by a two year old on a daily basis. On Sunday I have a frenzy of cleaning and cooking while awaiting my Mom, her boyfriend, Mark’s Dad, his wife and Mark’s 94 year old Grandmother for dinner. And if we all survive that, with no food poisoning or whatnot, we’ll head to my Dad’s the next day for an early dinner with my Oma, my brother and his kids, and then to my Mom’s in the evening to see more relatives. Good grief. I’m beat just typing that. I’m hoping to also get my sister Jess to come and spend a few days with us that week, but that hasn’t yet been set in stone.

Okay. So that was far from quick. Sheesh. Sorry. I hope you all have a holly, jolly holiday (if you celebrate that sort of thing) – and that the chaos, the bills and the gifts are just a fleeting blip quickly wiped out by your enjoyment of time with your loved ones. As flawed and wacky as they (and we all) may be.

See you next week with photos of festive festivitiness!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Surely you have more places we could hang some more balls. I mean seriously. We need MORE! More balls.  Posted by Picasa

It's a dark and blurry. But no other picture (or words for that matter) could possibly express to you the joy Noah felt helping to decorate the Christmas tree. Mark snapped this as Noah said "I did it!" as he triumphantly hung a ball on the tree.  Posted by Picasa

Noah took a momentary break from eating sprinkles to pose. I couldn't get him to understand that he wasn't supposed to be eating every cookie he decorated. Maybe next year.  Posted by Picasa

It's holly and jolly.

As you know we are doing the whole Santa myth here, and doing it wholeheartedly. Noah is pointing out every Santa he sees, plastic ones on porches, blow-up ones in the grocery store, lit ones in neighborhood windows. And he gets so excited. It really warms my heart.

What I’m not doing is the Santa threat. I was actually quite taken aback a few weeks ago when the mother of one of Noah’s playmates started telling the kids that they better not be naughty or they won’t get gifts. OH NO. That is not in our Santa tale. And certainly not for two years old. I told Noah that Santa brings gifts for nice boys and girls and since he is such a nice little boy he will be getting presents. The funny thing is he thinks he already got his gift. After he sat with Santa at the Gallery he was given a toothbrush, so when you ask him what he wants from Santa for Christmas he says “a toothbrush.” It’s gotten quite a few chuckles, and even a “Ahh… how sad.”

After two weeks of battling my own cold, Noah caught it this weekend. I spent two nights sleeping upright with him on the couch so he could continue to breath. He didn’t get too ill, just really, really mucousy. But despite the snot we kept on keeping on for a busy pre-holiday weekend. We hit two Christmas parties on Saturday – a cookie making toddler one in the afternoon (where everyone was snotty) and then a adult soiree in the evening where we stopped in and ran out before the childless folk got restless. On Sunday we got our tree – and Noah adores it. He often wakes up in the morning and asks to go see it. And he wants to continue decorating. Despite his protests we had to put the ornaments away before he tipped the poor tree over under their weight. Now he’s permitted to just move them around – luckily we have all plastic balls. After decorating and naptime we went downtown for another gander at the light show and puppets before having dinner in Chinatown. Cause nothin’ says Christmas like dumplings and fried rice. Yum.

After the festive weekend Noah was a bit worse the wear cold-wise so we hibernated on Monday – he was in his pajamas all day. But he was back to his active chipper self on Tuesday when we met Janette at Ikea and let the kids run wild through the decorative living rooms. Love those Swedes. Yesterday we went to check out a different playgroup and found ourselves the only English speakers aside from the facilitator. They were really welcoming but since I couldn’t talk to any of the other mothers I don’t think I will be returning to that group.

Today the boy and I did some shopping and were both rewarded for our good behavior with a lavish lunch at Chikfila. I’m just about done my Christmas shopping and though it won’t go down in the record books as being the year I gave everyone exactly what their little hearts desired- they are getting something and that’s all I’m up for at the moment. If only the thoughts I have about perfect gifts instantly materialized without the prerequisite spending and shopping. But ya know what – Noah is going to be super psyched to get some craft supplies, Playmobil people, a tool set and a doctor’s kit – and that’s what matters most.

What else goes on with Master Noah? He has gained the uncanny ability to pick out recognizable carols on even the quietest store speaker system. “It’s Rum-pum-pum song Mama!” And nothing could be cooler than “Fra-tee the Toe-man.” He’s also still loving the Nutcracker – he’s jumping, leaping and spinning around as well as playing with the wooden ones I got to decorate the house. (Sidenote: I returned the Nutcracker video to the library yesterday IN our late VCR. Mark broke the VCR apart to get the tape out but once he did we realized that the tape was running through the entire mechanism and there was no way for us to get it out without cutting it. Oops.) And though not holiday related I have to mention that Noah has become such a big helper. He wants to help do everything. He just wells up with pride and says repeatedly “I’m helping you Mama.” He’s also definitely entering his “kids say the darndest things” stage. As I we were exiting the house yesterday he said “Mama, you have a penis?”

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Setting out on the El for our holiday adventure this morning.  Posted by Picasa

Hanging out with the crowd, hungry for holiday light show magic.  Posted by Picasa

Nothing wrong with checking out the shoe selection while waiting for the light show.  Posted by Picasa

They make quite a pair.  Posted by Picasa

Let's have some fun now, before I melt away.

This year I’m truly enjoying the holiday spirit thanks to Master Noah. He’s so excited – and not because he’s getting gifts – but because of the magic of Christmas, the traditions, the music, the lights, the stories. We’ve been reading tons of Christmas books, listening to carols, watching the Nutcracker ballet and opening an advent calendar door each day. On Sunday night the three of us went to City Hall and Rittenhouse Square to see the trees and lights – and Noah was really excited, though he was a bit disappointed because he thought Santa would be at the tree. (Though honestly – limiting a two year old to one piece of chocolate a day is not easy. We have at least one meltdown a day because he wants to open another “Santa door.”) (Oh and said Nutcracker tape from the library is now stuck in our VCR, and yet not playable. On the plus side I was able to DVR the ballet on PBS last night so now Noah can watch it again, on the negative side I might be returning my VCR to the library.)

This morning I mentioned the idea of going downtown to see Santa. Noah, still in his pahjamas, said “I go upstairs to get my shoes. Be right back.” Needless to say we hustled out of the house. I was a bit apprehensive about how Noah would handle sitting on Santa’s lap, but as always he shocked me. It also helped that, surprisingly, The Gallery Santa rocks. Not only does he have the real deal hair, but since there was no line he told me “Let him approach slowly and talk a little bit so he gets comfortable.” It worked like a charm. When Santa finally asked if he wanted to sit on his lap and tell him his Christmas wish Noah said yes. Of course he blurted out “Trolley-Choo choo-bus” before he was even on his knee. Noah was feeling a bit too cautious to give an outright smile, but we did get a bit of a grin, and afterwards he kept talking about how nice Santa was. It was sweet.

Next we headed to see the train display at Reading Terminal (small and LAME) and then to Macys. After checking out the cool window displays, we went to see the weird ancient animatronic Dickens Christmas Village. I told Noah they were puppets so he thought they were pretty cool. At the end they take you in to see “Father Christmas” who was literally like a twenty something kid with lots of fake white hair, a feigned English accent and lots of rouge. AWFUL. We just went right through. Then we found a spot on the floor of the shoe department to wait for the light show to begin. When it was over Noah wanted to see it again – and didn’t take kindly to me saying they weren’t going to repeat it. So when he asked to see the puppets again – off we went for the second go around. And then we walked to the Bourse where we sat at a cafe table and shared a salad before getting back on the El.

The whole time we were out I was struck by two things. First, WOW he’s being so good. He really is such a sweet and special little man. I am truly blessed to have such an obedient and thoughtful child. I am constantly flabbergasted by it. And second, THIS is what Christmas is about. It’s not about what is under the tree. It’s about the wonder, the magic, the mystery. It’s about doing special things with your loved ones. About making memories and keeping traditions. God, I’m really loving this Christmas already.

Now if only someone else would do my damn shopping.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hodge Podge

- On Thanksgiving morning Noah had asked to watch Oobi- but before we put it on he saw a snippet of the parade and he was hooked. Lucky for us (or unlucky as the case may be) I recorded it since Noah has been asking to watch some of it almost every day. In particular he wants to watch “The doggy one” in which Goofy miraculous appears during a trick promoting Mickey’s Magic Show, the rousing performance by Singabration, and the Christmas medley featuring dancing elves and toys. If I didn’t so love watching him enjoy it, I might have clubbed myself by now.

- We have started prepping Noah with the prerequisite Christmas lies about Santa and whatnot. He’s really excited for what sounds like “Kimsump.”

- Though Noah obviously had a penchant for horses, I had not yet given him a book about them – bad mother that I am. Last week we went to the toddler story time at the library only to find out that the theme that day was indeed horses. Of course he loved it and we brought one of the books home. “Giddy Up! Let’s Ride” by Flora Mcdonnell. It’s a week later and Noah has the book memorized. You ask “How does the cowgirl ride?” and he says “Yeeha! Yeeha!” “How does the jockey ride?” “Faster and faster. Faster and faster.” “How does the princess ride?” “Jingle ringle. Jingle ringle.” “How does the rahjah ride?” “Rumpetta- trump Rumpetta-trump.” It kills me every time.

- I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without mentioning this. We play blocks A LOT. And for some unknown reason whenever you ask Noah what he is building he says “A sour cream store.” With as many as that boy has built, Sam Breakstone better watch his ass.

- My Dad keeps a bowl of Hershey Kisses out on his end table and since the moment Noah had his first one he goes straight for the bowl as soon as we enter the house. On Thanksgiving morning we pulled into Dad’s driveway and still in his car seat Noah said “I want chocolate.” Dad also takes out to dinner fairly regularly when we visit. Last weekend when I told Noah that we were going out to a restaurant for dinner he just assumed his Pa Joe was going to be there.

- “You’re my best friend, Mama.” It melts your heart. Even if he keeps telling everyone their his best friend. Today it was his plastic lizard.

- For his birthday Patrice gave Noah some Crayola bath tub tints and now he’s hooked. We used the last of them tonight and I’m fairly certain he won’t bathe without them tomorrow. Either I’m going to be making a mad dash to find some more or Noah’s gonna have a hard time going cold turkey.

- Christmas is coming and I've already started my bah-humbug shopping attitude. My solution to some of that is to buy at least a portion of my gifts from charities that retain a portion of the profits. That way even if the recipient doesn't give a crap about the gift whose suitability I've spent forever pondering , at least someone in need has benefitted before it gets shoved in a closet or regifted.

- Oh and I'm ill. Nothing big. Just cholera. Somehow we'll get through. So far I'm thanking my lucky stars that I'm the only one afflicted.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Though I don’t really consider us to be potty training Noah, we do put him on the potty before and after his bath. He pees on the potty every night and while I do congratulate him, I try not to put too much emphasis on it.

On Friday in the midst of getting the house in shape for our Black Friday Leftover Potluck Party, we decided to give Noah a shower since we wouldn’t have time that night for our bedtime bath ritual. Afterwards he spent a great deal of time running around our room naked. Suddenly he cried out “Potty, Mama! Potty!” And when I looked over at him I first saw his very distressed face before I realized he was pooping on the floor (thankfully not the new carpet). I kind of squealed before Mark made me realize I was having a negative reaction, and then I just scooped him up mid-poop and stuck him on the potty where he continued to go. When it was all done we congratulated Noah for pooping on the potty like a big boy.

At the party I was holding Noah and telling Wendy that Noah had pooped like a big boy on the potty. Noah looked earnestly at Wendy and said “I pooped on the floor, actually.” We just about died.


Mark, Noah and I went to dinner at A Full Plate Café. Noah was looking at a plastic flashcard book my Mom bought him when he was a newborn. It’s always been a good bet for keeping him busy in a restaurant or in the car. Each page has a picture of an object and the corresponding letter of the alphabet. He’s looked at it enough to turn to the first page and say “A is for Apple.” But now he’s actually starting to look at all the letters. He’s beginning to read. Tonight he read to us “O R 2 Jeff – Goldfish.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

I think I'm already stuffed

I was feeling crestfallen on Friday. Earlier in the week I was really excited when a new friend of mine had decided to take me up on my babysitting offer. She had been putting her 15 month old daughter in daycare from 8:30 to 12:30 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so she could have time to do some freelance graphic design work. However even after a few months her daughter had not seemed to have adjusted, so she was really excited about my offer. And I was excited that I knew and liked them, and I’d be making some much needed cash. However the fates taunt me and on Thursday her daughter had her first ever good day at daycare. And now of course she doesn’t want to pull her out just as she is getting adjusted. So I’m back to square one. Ho hum. Luckily I had a couple of inquiries about when I might be available so hopefully something pans out.

On Friday night we did babysit a little 18 mo girl who lives down the street from us while her parents went to a concert at the Kimmel. Noah and her were a great pair – running around after each other giggling. She was excited to follow him and Noah wasn’t intimidated. It really was a good mix. On Saturday we went to Frannie’s second birthday party and the mix wasn’t so good. One of Noah’s little friends scares the bejezus out of him. He’s not very verbal and so he resorts to loudness and exaggerated movements, he’s also a close talker and he wants to play huddle all the time. Noah asks about this boy often and looks forward to seeing him but when they are together I can’t get Noah out of my lap. It’s a shame. The boy is really sweet too – he’s not aggressive just excitable. I was going to invite his family to our place for a gathering of friends on Friday, but decided not to so that I won’t have to carry Noah around all night. And I feel just horrible about it.

What else have we been up to as of late? Well we spent a couple of hours this weekend cleaning out our concrete slab/yard. It had been rendered unusable this summer when a neighbor’s tree overgrew our entire space and banished any chance of sunlight. Therefore it was covered in leaves, damp and mosquitoes for months. Much to my delight the neighbor finally had the tree removed and as a result we were able to sweep out our yard and let the slab dry out. Noah has even been blowing bubbles and hanging in the sandbox out there. We were heartily saddened when our dinner plans with Juliloquy were cancelled due to HPR’s illness on Sunday evening – Noah had even baked them pumpkin oatmeal muffins. But on the upswing we can look forward to getting together with them again soon.

And the boy is of course super-lovable every day. Any negative moment I might have is fleeting when faced with his sweet and sunny disposition. Some of his most common sayings are “I want lovin,’” “Cuddle me,” and “I want kiss you, Mama.” (And today he repeated me when I said "Oh JESUS!" when a guy flung open his car door in front of me as I was trying to drive down a narrow street. Oops.) This isn’t to say he doesn’t have his testy moments, because he is TWO! But he is still thankfully such a sensitive, caring and thoughtful boy and his moodiness and testing passes quickly. I normally just have to mention a time out and he falls back into line quickly. (Knock on wood!)

Of course we have been on our normal schedule this week. We had playgroup today. Tomorrow we’re meeting Wendy and Victor at the library in Port Richmond for story time, and then headed over to their place to play and chat. Wednesday is music class and last minute Thanksgiving grocery shopping to prepare our bring-along dishes. On Thursday we celebrate our abundance with lunch at my Dad’s and dinner at my Mom’s (with the in-laws also in attendance.) And on Friday we’re having a few folks over for our Black Friday Leftover Pot Luck. It should be a lovely holiday. Hope yours is filled with appreciation, family, friends and love.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We could all use a little Jeanne Bice.

Hey. How’ve you been? I know. It’s been awhile. Your hair is getting really long. I like what you’ve done with it. Oh thanks, yeah – new shoes. Where have I been? Hard to say really. Nowhere in particular I guess. And yet busy. Ya know, doing not much of anything. Just following a routine, enjoying life and my family. Not much more than that to say. But I’ll try.

Yesterday I sent an email to a neighborhood parents listserv offering PT childcare in my home. Ideally I’d love to watch another toddler like 9-2 pm, twice a week. It would bring in just a little extra income to help fight our burgeoning debt, but not have a huge impact on keeping Noah active and involved on a daily basis. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

This weekend my 11 year old sister Jessica came to visit. We enjoyed a beautiful warm weather day at the Zoo on Saturday and made the best of a rainy Sunday at the Art Museum, followed by a tasty late lunch in Chinatown. Noah of course loved having his An-Jess here and is missing here dearly. Whether Jess had a good time or not, I can’t say. She seems to have started that quiet, brooding tween thing – and though I don’t think she had a BAD time, she certainly wasn’t as happily expressive as she has been in the past.

Sheesh. The holidays are coming and so the scheduling has begun. Who is going where on what day – trying to see everyone and balance all the expectations. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I get freaked out about it every year. Almost as freaked out as I get about gifts… well, not nearly THAT freaked out. My Grammy called this morning asking what we wanted for Christmas. I have no earthly idea. Noah is up to his ears in clothes and toys from his birthday – and yet I am expected to give all my family members strict orders for what the boy should get for Christmas. It’s lovely to say this – but he doesn’t need anything. And then the BUYING! Coming up with penny-pinching thoughtful gifts for everyone that won’t just get shoved in closets is impossible. If I had the cash I’d just buy everyone gift certificates to cool stores and restaurants they might enjoy, but even those don’t always seem to get used. This year everyone is getting Quacker Factory. What could be more FESTIVE than sequined Santa shirts for all?

And the boy is still amazing me every day. His language skills are amazing. It’s hard for outsiders to see because he can be so shy, but at home he talks CONSTANTLY. And he’s a little bossy too. He loves the game where we just run around the kitchen table and he says “Be horsey! Be kitty! Stop! Dance around! Get down! Sleep! Wake up!” And he’s still obsessed with Beck and those puppets. (I know the youtube link no longer works but you can go to, go to video and then select the SNL performances or the robot video for “Hell Yes.”) This morning shortly after he awoke he said “Mama is puppet. Noah is robot. Daddy is Beck.” And he doesn’t miss a thing. Out of the blue he’ll start talking about how his playgroup is in Fishtown, and if we’re in the car I should “Drive Broad Street.” I say something once and he repeats it the next day, leaving me wondering where in the hell he learned that. And as smart and big as he’s becoming, he can’t be seduced by me telling him what big boys do. Nope. He says “I’m baby, Mama. Not big boy. I’m baby.”

Friday, November 10, 2006

Scientology rocks

And the call goes up “Watch puppets, Mama? Want watch puppets.” I’m guessing we’ve watched this clip nearing 30 times in the last couple of days. I can't get near the computer without hearing the request. Today we even watched the robots.

Monday, November 06, 2006

There are no real birthdays without balloons.  Posted by Picasa

Delish! Posted by Picasa

Love found and lost. The day after Halloween Stella's Mom dropped a bomb - her husband got a job offer and they are moving back to Atlanta... in a week and a half. Today we went to Stella's house to say goodbye. This is most likely their last hug.  Posted by Picasa

Run over by a birthday truck

Deep breath. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind – culminating in not one, but two lovely parties for Master Noah. Both were well attended and sufficiently celebratory – so I think we did a bang up job. The toddler house party seemed a bit too ambitious – what with 12 toddlers, 3 infants and 22 adults attending – but it proved to be an excellent idea in the end. The kids were well behaved and the parents were very excited to hang out with other parents, talking and drinking beer. And best of all Noah really enjoyed himself – I had visions of him clinging to me the entire time wondering why all these damn people were ruining his birthday – but he had a blast. I think it was a plus for him to have the home team advantage. He had a couple of moments of wanting to be held or far off in a corner playing on his own, but for the most part he was totally interactive and enjoying himself. And that is SUCCESS. The family party was an interesting proposition because my mother hosted not only her immediate family, some friends and her in-laws, but also my Dad (they were divorced when I was five), my half-brother and his kids. A truly blended family makes for some awkwardness, I was concerned about my Dad feeling comfortable and Mark was concerned about his Dad, but generally it was a hit. As always we worry far more than we need. Everyone was there to celebrate Noah and that is the real icing on the cake. We’re really blessed with a group of loving, supportive people who know how important it is to us that we all be together.

The best part of all of it is that this year Noah knew the parties were for him and was so excited to see his loved ones and know they came for him. Oh, and they brought presents.
And good lord – THE TOYS! I have so much gear here that I could open a daycare center. Of course the morning after his first party we asked him what he liked about it the most and he said “Happy Birthday cake! I blow on it.”

I could say SO much more – but I’m beat and have no focus, so I will spare you for the moment. We thank you all for your warm birthday wishes.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Of all the photos ever taken this is my favorite. This was Noah moments after he was born at 8pm on 11-04-04. He was so small, so precious and so primal. He changed my life forever - infinitely for the better. I will be forever thankful for the person he is and the person he has made me. Happy Birthday Noah Mac! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Months ago I asked Noah what he wanted to be for Halloween. I explained to him that he got to dress up as something and showed him pictures in a catalog. Without faltering he told me he wanted to be a "neigh neigh." I wasn't in the least bit surprised. Sure, I would have loved to dress him as something badass, but the boy knew what he wanted. Except I didn't know where in the hell to get a horse costume. I scoured the internet. And the only ones I found were on ebay. His costume was ridiculously cute in a sort of annoying Anne Geddes way, and it kind of looked like it could have been a squirrel costume, but it also had a button on it that you pushed and it played a horse sound. And well, that is just super cool. Plus there weren't any other horses to be found, not at his playgroup party and not in the neighborhood, and so I give points for originality. Posted by Picasa

We didn't go trick or treating - but our neighborhood park had a halloween parade. Parents just met at the park and then marched the kids around the block. Noah walked almost the whole route holding hands with Stella - she's The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the background. You may recall the picture of the two of them holding hands at the apple orchard. I'm beginning to think they are a thing. Mostly because Stella demands it. Her parents had to hustle to catch up with us during the parade because she was asking to be with Noah. She cried when they were seperated at the end of the evening. It may be love.  Posted by Picasa

Princess Janette and the dastardly dragon Jules joined us.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 30, 2006

I always think of Noah as being a little Mark clone. People are always telling me "WOW, he looks SO much like his Daddy." But when Mark and I looked at this picture last night we were both astonished by how much Noah and I look alike in it. Or maybe that's just the flannel pajamas.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006

Zero time for titles

Thank you everyone for the warm wishes. Mark and I had a lovely anniversary. Susan, Frannie and Julius came over to our place to occupy Noah for a few hours so that we could sneak out for dinner. And though it was the first time we left him with anyone other than a grandparent, it was really worry free. He sees them all often, is totally comfortable with mild-mannered Frannie, and was excited to have them over to play. He barely said goodbye. And off we went to Copper, an American bistro BYOB that recently opened in our hood. The food was tasty but kind of textbook, no stunning taste combinations that blew us away or dishes I can’t go on without eating again, and it was certainly not as warm and inviting as Aden, the restaurant that formerly resided in that space. (Thankfully I’ve heard a rumor that Aden is reopening just a few doors north in a larger space.) What was incredible was the splurge bottle of wine we brought to accompany dinner. Mark and I drink red wine on most nights and we don’t often spend more than ten dollars on a bottle – but since four years is FRUIT and flowers, part of my gift to Mark was a $30!!! bottle of wine. And luckily I went to the Premium Collection store downtown and got a really good and snooty recommendation from someone far more wine educated than myself. He sold me when he described the wine as being really drinkable – which is how I like my wine, you know, when I drink it. I have to tell you that it was bar none the best bottle of wine I ever drank and definitely a case of you get what you pay for. To follow up that delectable bottle of wine we stopped at the new Bar Ferdinand for a cocktail on the walk home. And again – tasty liquorishness. I decided to be adventurous and ordered a Granada – blueberry Stoli, orange liqueur and pomegranate juice. It was divine. All of it - a lovely two hours out of my home, toddler-free (and yet worry-free) with my wonderful husband.

So that was a pretty lengthy description. Let’s fast forward through the week. Miss Tracey stopped by for Shepard’s Pie on Friday. Mark, Noah and I met my Father-in-law, his wife, Mark’s 97 year old Grandma, my Mom and her beau at a dinner to celebrate my FIL’s birthday. Insane amounts of food were consumed – my FIL’s wife always presents 57 dishes at every meal though we’ve begged her repeatedly to pare it down to 6. I feel compelled to eat some of everything and I always leave feeling like death. On Sunday we began the mad scurry to remove everything from the second floor of our home in preparation for the carpet install that is occurring on Thursday. And by the by, Lowe’s will be doing it – the much lower price and zero financing for one year sealed the deal, much to our chagrin. We pray they do a decent job though we’ve heard many stories to the contrary.

Noah hasn’t napped for the last two days and I fear this seems to be the norm. He can definitely make it through the day while remaining even-tempered, I just have to make sure that I can do the same. I’m blogging while Mark bathes Noah this evening and it’s the first child-free moment I’ve had all day. In fact – I babysat a neighbor’s 18 month old daughter this afternoon so it’s been a particularly childarific time.

The next couple of weeks seem insanely over-planned. We have the carpet shenanigans, a Mom’s night out, a bunch of neighborhood Halloween activities for Noah, Bella’s Bday party, a Halloween party, and then the mad dash to prepare for Noah’s birthday party. Or should I say parties- he’s having one with neighborhood toddlers (possibly 10 total – SAVE US!) and their parents at our place on Saturday, and then a second one at my Mom’s place for family and friends so close they are family. I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be doing, but I hope to do some drive-bys with Noah bits and pictures. And that’s what most of you folks want anyway, so it’ll probably be a relief from all my needless blabbering. Peace out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fruit and flowers

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary. I'm even more commited to spending a lifetime with Mark today than I was on my wedding day.

To commemorate that occasion I'm posting one of the readings from our ceremony and our vows.

The vows of Mark and Nicole Eggerts, recited in unison on October, 18, 2002
Before our friends and family, I affirm the relationship we share.
I affirm the past, which prepared us for each other.
I affirm the present, this day when we stand united.
And I affirm our future, when we will adjust to life’s changes together.
I promise you my love and respect at each step.
I will strive to be my best, because you deserve no less.
I pledge to help you be your best.
I thank you for choosing me to love, support and comfort.
I take you as my partner, to celebrate life with you forevermore.

This is a passage adapted from Still Life with Woodpecker, a novel by Tom Robbins.

"Leigh-Cheri sent this message to Bernard: 'The most important thing is love. I know that now. There's no point in saving the world if it means losing the moon. I'm not quite twenty, but, thanks to you, I've learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?'

The next day, she received this reply:

'Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.'"

I love you, Mark.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I said naps not nads.

As I always say – Noah is an angel baby and I’d clone him in a heartbeat, except for the sleeping. He’s always been a sucky sleeper. His father is a poor sleeper, and so I blame it on him. I however am a championship sleeper, and boy do I miss having eight hours plus of uninterrupted sleep. Lately we started some bizarre variant of sleep training – mainly an attempt to separate nursing from sleeping and get Noah accustomed to falling asleep in his crib. I’m still not in the CIO camp – I’ve been sitting cribside doing what it takes to aid him off to dreamland. The first couple attempts at this it took nearly two hours for him to finally conk out – he’d stand up asking me to take him out, asking for hugs and kisses, for juice, tissues and diaper changes. But he knows the drill now and it’s been taking about 15 minutes or so now, which is great. One big problem though is that for the most part he still falls asleep with his hand in my mouth. YUP. That wasn’t some weird series of typos – he puts his little hands through the crib bars and into my mouth to fall asleep. He’s pawed at my face and mouth while nursing and falling asleep since he was born and it might be harder to break that habit than the nursing. But we’re taking it one step at a time. Once Noah has mastered falling asleep in the crib I will be able to finally stop the nursing – which is is fantastic. I always thought I’d like him to stop around two and it looks like we can make that happen. It won’t be easy or fast – but it will happen and in a way that makes me and him most comfortable. It’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Somewhat tied to the nighttime battle is the nap battle. Recently we’ve had a couple of busy family days on which Noah went napless and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he dealt with missing his nap on a busy day. But much less pleasant is that Noah has refused to take a nap this past Friday and today. Could he be ready to give up napping? How will I cope if he is? (I NEED THAT BREAK!) Is this just his way of rebelling against the evening sleep training? And if I do phase out his nap will that improve his nighttime sleeping? So many questions, so little time to myself to think about the answers.

Let’s move from quandary to cuteness. Oh wait, the weekend. Friday night the three of us went to a party. Saturday the boys had haircuts, we hung out for a bit at the chilly Northern Liberties Music Festival, and then had a lovely dinner at A Full Plate café. Sunday we went to a baby clothing swap which was less than fruitful (unfortunately most of the 2T stuff was for girls) and then took a bus ride downtown and home again just because Noah wanted to ride the bus. Okay – cuteness.

Few get to see what a chatterbox Noah is because he’s shy, but at home he talks CONSTANTLY. Here are just a few little snippets that have come up lately.

- “Mama, talk more.” I’m certain he’s the only person on the planet who has ever asked me to speak MORE. Usually people are begging me to shut the hell up and stop being so damn indiscreet with my personal life.

- “The pet store too. I love it. Little bunnies.” Noah’s response when I asked him if he wanted to go to Lowes, which is next to Monster Pets. Noah has begun saying “I love it” about everything – people, trains, food, animals, clothing, you name it.

- “Ma, that Noah plate right here, Ma.” – I had decided I wanted to be a Mama instead of a Mommy, but in the last week or so Noah has called me “Ma” almost exclusively. In fact it both precedes and punctuates most of his conversations with me.

- “Pa Joe wait in line; get on bus.” I think my best lifetime purchase has been the vintage Fisher Price 1960’s school bus and the old fashioned Little People that use it as their means of transportation. I bought them all off Ebay because I was nostalgic for the ones I had when I was a kid over the fat ones they manufacture these days. And this must be common because the Ebay sales are pretty cut-throat. We’ve given all the people names – those of our beloved friends and family members and Noah plays with them and the bus almost all day every day. The bus has to travel with us to each floor of the house we’re on and getting Noah to take a bath means bribing him with “You can bring Oma, Bella and Pop Pop with you to ride on the boat.”

- “Want something to eat? How bout that?” Most often our little family departs the bus to eat in a restaurant we have assembled out of wooden blocks. They sit at tables and a plastic Zing Zing Zingbah takes their orders for salads, soup and steaks, prepares their meals and serves up the grub. He’s the hardest working orange lump in the restaurant industry. It's also amazing to hear Noah pick up my speech patterns and catch phrases. I hadn't realized how much I say "How bout... X or Y?" but now I can't help but notice.

- “Where’s Jim, Ma? Where’s Jim? Jim lost, Ma?” My Little People brother has disappeared. We fear he has gone on some sort of bender. Please keep your eyes peeled for him. He has a silver hardhat and a mustache.

And of course there is SO much more. The dialogue of the Little People restaurant could fill a book alone. He kills me with it every day.

And one last thing – my skin is always a disgrace but it’s worse right now than it has ever been and I’m not sure why. (NOT PREGNANT - so don't even think it.) I’m sure all the toddler mouth poking and prodding has something to do with it, but it doesn’t explain why it’s gotten so much worse in the last couple of weeks. I currently have several large painful pink pimples on my face –the worse one being on the center of my nose. If I colored it in with an eye pencil it would be great start for a witch costume. Seriously though, WTF is up with my skin? I feel like I should be having horrific anxiety over my first high school dance for God’s sake. I can’t be bothered worrying about MFing wrinkles – I’m still applying CLEARASIL. It never ends with this crap.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

See my fleece shirt and puffy vest? See that cute boy in that flamin' hat? We are BUNDLED.  Posted by Picasa

See the hay! And the tractor! Hoo-wee. It was farmalicious.  Posted by Picasa

Choo choo Charlie was his name.  Posted by Picasa

Too much blabbering for one post

(Crossing my fingers) We might be free and clear from the ick. Mark is well on his way to recovery with only a pesky cough as a reminder and Noah and I never really got ill. However Noah keeps complaining that his head, eyes and nose hurt – so there is still a possibility that he’s got some sinus congestion.

The week flew by. Thursday we went to Holly’s and made trick-or-treat bags with the kids. Holly went insane and bought enough stuff for Martha Stewart to start her crafting empire from scratch. And I’m lame and just brought puffy Halloween stickers – and I only had those since they were a gift from my cousin Tammy. The kids drew, stamped and stuck happily for awhile and then we took them outside to play. This meant that Tripp and Stella played rambunctiously and Noah clung to my leg and watched. Poor guy. He really can’t handle the free play – unless his playmate is as mild as he. But though I often feel sad for him because he can’t fully enjoy his time with his friends, I have to remember that he is his own person (and a super sweet person at that) and I shouldn’t push him outside his comfort zone. So I periodically gently encourage him to play by saying stuff like “It looks like they’re having fun in the sandbox. Do you want to play too?” He’ll say “Yes” and head over there until Tripp squeals with glee at the sight of him and then Noah turns right around and reattaches himself to my leg.

On Friday we went to Marita’s for more free playtime – ie. Noah watching and hugging me. The funny thing is that he finally warmed up ten minutes before we were about to leave. He got down on the floor and started playing with the cars next to the other boys just in time for me to have to wrangle him out of there. It’s all about the timing. We had a lunch date planned to meet Susan, Holly and the kids at St. Michael’s for the Russian festival luncheon. We significantly brought down the median age of the establishment since there were no other kids there and it was mostly populated by the old folks. We sucked down perogi, holupkis, kielbasa and cookies and then went home for our nap. Our fat-consumption induced nap.

The rain on Friday caused the Northern Liberties Music Festival to be rescheduled until next week so on Saturday we found ourselves with nothing planned. So since Mark felt he lost out on our Russian feast, the three of us went back to St. Michael’s for another lovely lunch (I'm not fat enough). After nap we hopped in the car and went to Linvilla Orchards for the Autumn Moon Hayride. The place was hoppin’ and everyone was feeling super autumnal now that there was a chill in the air. While perusing the market before our hayride Mark was spied by our new pal Julie who was shopping the lovely selection of fresh produce while her husband and son frolicked happily on the playground. It’s an amazingly small world – and it was such a lovely treat to run into her. After our hayride we chugged some cider, toasted some marshmallows on a bonfire and enjoyed the playground until it grew so dark we could no longer see Noah. Then we stopped in the Memory Grill for dinner before heading home. It was a really lovely evening with one exception. Before our hayride I spotted a food booth with a really long line – and my curiosity was piqued. What amazing delicacy was being sought out by the masses? The sign said “Apple Cider Donuts.” I’ve never had one but instantly I NEEDED to eat one. So I told Mark we’d get some before we headed home. Unfortunately the fates were not with us – when we came back the booth was closed. There were no more to be had. And now here I am still jonesin for an apple cider donut though I have no earthly idea what one tastes like. I think we’ll have to make another trip there just so I can go on with my life.

Sunday was family day and we set out to Quakertown to spend the afternoon with my Dad celebrating his birthday. We went out and had a huge lunch at Gregory’s Seafood Factory (nothing sounds as appetizing as factory food?) – and though we aren’t in Europe my Dad insisted on picking up the bill on his own Birthday lunch. Dagnabit. A highlight of my lunch was that the two glasses of wine I ordered were like super glases - I swear I nearly drank a whole damn bottle. We went back to the house (me with buzz) and Noah played ball and chase with Oma and poker with his Pa Joe. It’s nice to see Noah bring some joy into their eyes since otherwise the house is pretty glum. My grandfather was in and out of the hospital again last week and though my Oma brought him home again against doctor’s orders, she seems to have finally realized that she can no longer care for him at home. He spent our entire visit slumped over sleeping sitting upright on the living room couch. At one point when Oma said she was going to get a blanket because he felt ice cold – I actually made Mark go to check that he was still breathing. While it’s certainly not a nice thought to think that your grandfather is dead on the couch in the other room, part of me knew what a relief it would be for all of them. He requires more care than my Oma and Dad can give him and certainly more care than he deserves – he was never a giving or loving man and I’m sad to say that unfortunately everyone has a lot more reason to hate him than remember him fondly. But back to the positive – it was nice to see Noah make Oma smile for a change. When we left Dad’s place we stopped over at my Mom’s since with the hour drive out to Qtown it’s always best to have a two-fer visit. Mark watched the Eagles game (they say it was a good one but I can’t say that I give a rat’s ass) and Mom made dinner though we were so stuffed from lunch that I had to force myself to suck down all those yummy pot roast onions. Like last week when we went to Tammy's place, Noah went all day without a nap. And while once again he did it with aplomb and stayed good tempered, both days his temperment suffered the morning after - like a nap-less hangover.

We decided to use Mark’s Columbus holiday to discover some fall fashion. Well more like necessary apparel than fashion. Mark desperately needed to replace some threadbare work pants and I needed some long sleeve Ts. I got a couple at the Gap outlet – and I so love the feel of them and the fact that I only paid $7 for them that all morning I’ve been thinking about going back there tonight and buying more in different colors. Seriously – I just need basics on a day to day basis and I’d daydreaming of owning one for every day of the week. Plus- isn’t it crazy that when you finally do some shopping for yourself it just starts you thinking about all the other crap you need? Instead of feeling totally triumphant that I have something new to wear I’m thinking “Well I still need a really warm jacket, a hat, some cords, winter boots, and a few cardigans.” Consumerism is SO very addictive.

I keep meaning to post about all the things Noah says now – since he talks non-stop and in complete thoughts. But he says so much so often that I can’t really think of the most impressive phrases. However I’m awfully impressed by “No, please.” Not because it’s complex – just so damn polite. “Noah come sit in your chair for dinner.” “No, please.” It’s defiance LIGHT. OH – and for the first time this weekend Noah was calling my Mom “Gramma” rather than “Ah-wee.” Even though he could say Grandma for some time he’d been sticking to his original mispronounciation until now. I knew I would be saddened when the change happened but though my Mom had been pushing for it she was surprisingly sad too. As I explained to her “There are millions of Grandmas but only one Ah-wee.” By the end of the day we were nearly begging him to go back to calling her “Ah-wee.” Silly adults.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Slipping into the future

My evil plan to keep busy seems to be working. We had a lovely playgroup on Monday, a divine visit by Janette and Jules on Tuesday and a raucous music class this morning. Tomorrow is grocery store Thursday and then we’ve got our neighborhood playdate on Friday morning. Having one time consuming concrete thing to do each day is really helping the days move along. And each day includes time outdoors enjoying one of the parks and our pristine weather – with premonitions of having to bundle up to do the exact same thing in just a few short weeks. This week is just flying by. And I just realized yesterday that Mark has a three day weekend in celebration of Columbus day. I think we might go out and discover something that’s already been discovered. That is if we are well.

Mark was overcome with illness on Monday morning – and is still battling the beast. And this time around we’re taking extreme precautions to prevent Noah and me from catching the ick. Poor Mark has had to sleep in a different bed for the last two nights and has been outlawed from having any super cuddly hugs and kisses from either of us. Sad, pitiful thing. And then there is all the chafing from the excessive hand-washing. But luckily it won’t all be for naught – though I’m a tad worried that Noah’s nose seems a bit runny this morning. But I won’t think about that now.

In music class today I sat myself down next to the two moms that looked the most laid back, the ones I thought I would have the most in common with. Turns out they were both nannies. Ha! I fit in more with the help. We’re taking the class in a more expensive neighborhood than where we live and I feel a bit daunted by all the prim and proper moms and their expensive strollers. Noah however was not feeling the least bit daunted. He LOVES that class. He sang, danced, and played instruments with abandon. His favorite part of the class is when they have to give back anything they were given to play with. He’s a big beaming joyous boy leaping up into the center of the room to put back his scarf or his shaker egg. He definitely does better in a structured class with an engaging activity than he does in a room full of kids during free play time and I will definitely have to keep him in some sort of class in the future. Maybe when music is over we’ll take an art class in the new year.

And tonight is the premiere of LOST! Hooray.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Noah is VERY serious about the Arboretum.  Posted by Picasa

Time to take a nap in the sculpture garden. Posted by Picasa

Noah and Nana are on the left - Flumpa the Frog is on the right. When I showed Noah Flumpa on the computer he said "I shake his hand!"  Posted by Picasa

Here's Noah at the "River Park," more commonly known as Penn Treaty Park. It's on the Delaware River bank and has a great view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.Posted by Picasa

An apple a day

Absofreakin-breathtaking! The sun, the breeze, the sky. What a lovely day it is today. I’d like to put in an order for at least two more months of this please. Thanks.

So yeah – drinking with pals on Friday was divine. And best yet is that we hung at the bar for a few hours but then they were happy to join me at home so that I could put the boy to bed and then we could continue socializing – with Mark too. Lovely. Saturday at my cousin’s place was good too. Even though on the way there we realized we not only left behind the snack I was to bring but also the gift that I had painstakingly wrapped in super cool paper. We had to stop at Target and buy a new gift (luckily Noah was already coveting the shirt and hoodie I had gotten for Evan) and trail mix. Tammy had the kids decorate pumpkins with an adhesive foamie face kit – which really meant that Mark and I made a kick ass jackolantern. I don't think he's all too capable or interested in art at the moment - except for scribbling. My cousin however is way into the crafty stuff and she had made Noah a puffy-painted party favor bag with assorted novelty items that went over like gangbusters. I haven't yet eaten his pumpkin peeps, but it's just a matter of time. That is after I open them and allow them to get stale - like all good peeps should be.

Yesterday morning we were about to cancel our plans to go to the Arboretum because the weather still looked glum, but Mark’s Dad said the weather satellite said the clouds were on their way out. And it was a good thing we listened to him too. The day was picturesque and fun. Noah enjoyed the railway, the fountain, the sculpture garden and the highly annoying but educationally charged musical stylings of Flumpa the Frog. He thought that dancing frog kicked ass. All afternoon Noah kept asking “Mama, what Frog doing?” It was like he imagined Flumpa off singing and dancing somewhere else and he was heartsick about it. But oddly enough my favorite moment of the day was when he picked a flower. I explained to him that we shouldn’t pick the flowers because then everyone else wouldn’t get to see how pretty they were and though we had already started walking away he turned around and walked back to the spot he had taken the flower from so he could put it back. He’s such a sweet little soul.

And when we came home we were treated with a flying spectacular. They'd been filming "Shooter" in our neighborhood all weekend and on Sunday night we got to watch multiple takes of helicopter manuvering. One copter would get really low while the filming copter would be right behind it - flying over our heads again and again and again. We didn't spy Danny Glover or Mark Wahlberg however. And is Wahlberg's character really named Bobby Lee Swagger? COME ON.

I also bought a bunch of apples at festival. I’m suddenly obsessed with tasting every available apple variety. There are over 25 kinds available right now. My current loves are the Honeycrisps and the Jonagolds. Which ones do you like? I’m also now obsessing about the fact that we certainly do not eat 5-9 different fruits and vegetables a day – and that is what’s recommended. HOW? I mean occasionally I might fill that quota – but DAILY? Sheesh. What fruits and veggies do you normally buy at the store? Any suggestions for increasing our intake? I have to admit that my biggest problems are eating things before they go bad and more shamefully being too damn lazy to peel and chop every damn thing. HELP.

Friday, September 29, 2006

As a bee

It’s a busy, busy day and a busy, busy weekend. This morning we went to our Friday morning neighborhood kid coffee klatch. It was indoors because it was a bit too dewy to frolic in the great outdoors – and as a result it was a bit too chaotic and a bit too noisy and therefore Noah was too clingy. Early on one boy pushed another boy and crying commenced and after that Noah wouldn’t take more than one step away from me. One of the boys was so desperate to play and share with Noah that he was trying to force cars into his hands, but Noah wouldn’t take them. I kept saying “He’s sharing with you Noah, isn’t that nice?” and Noah said “Yes. It nice.” But still he wouldn’t play. Then we headed out on the El to West Philly to have Indian buffet with Mark as well as Julie, HPR and Schmoo. It was SO cool to meet a blog friend in person. And it’s crazy how much we all have in common – well except that they camp and are far more earthy and spiritual than we are. I mean they were in the Peace Corps! How cool is that? And the Schmoo is a bundle of cute toddlery goodness – and only four days younger than Noah. I look forward to hanging with them all again. That is if we didn’t scare them away.

Tonight I’m actually going OUT! With friends!! For drinks!!!! And extra exclamation points… I’ve run out. And the excitement doesn’t end there. Tomorrow we head out to Collegeville to celebrate my cousin’s son’s second birthday and on Sunday we hope to go to the Fall Festival at the Morris Arboretum with my father-in-law and his wife (weather permitting.) It’s all action all the time at the Eggerts house. Of course the action I should be taking as I type is cleaning up this damn sty before there are witnesses. I best get on that.

Oh – I really like THIS question and the responses it’s gotten. Maybe you will enjoy it too. Have an enchanting weekend.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Have I mentioned that I worry?

I’m trying to line up my winter plan as the cold weather is just over the horizon of the beautifully breathtaking climate we are currently experiencing. Yesterday Noah ran free at the zoo for nearly three hours and then ran around the park for over an hour after dinner – and as we were walking back to the house I realized that in the dead of winter he’ll be lucky to have that much outdoor physical activity time in an entire week. Sure I plan to bundle him up and run him around frequently but in the cold I might only get a half hour of running around in before I need to return to the warmth of the indoors.

So the plan was just to get some core activities nailed down. The weekly playgroup on Monday mornings is a great place to start. Activities, socialization and getting us both out of the house on a regular basis - we need more of that stuff. So today we went to an open house session at Little People Music. Unfortunately the woman I spoke to forgot to tell me that the 11 am session was geared towards babies – but Noah had a good time anyway. The instructor was great and he assured me that the toddler classes are far more active. Good stuff. I’m signing Noah up for a ten week session of music classes that start next week. That takes care of a midweek activity. I’m not sure if the informal neighborhood playgroup we were going to on Fridays is going to continue in the inclement weather as the woman who hosted it did so in her garden space – but I hope so. But now that I have a couple of concrete things to do with the boy I feel a hell of a lot better.

I’ve also been thinking that maybe I should build more structure into our time at home. Like maybe I should have activity blocks for art, reading, free play, etc. Does that seem nuts? I think it might benefit me in the way that then I’d have some guidance for what to do with him at any given moment. Anyone do this? Anyone have toddler activity books they can recommend? Or am I being insane?

Noah wanted to be photographed with the zebras. This is the best I could do. See those stripey things on the right in the distance - those are zebras. Posted by Picasa

Ms. Janette and baby Jules joined us at the zoo yesterday afternoon.  Posted by Picasa

Here is a photo of Mama and Noah wandering around the beautiful Lauxmont Farms on Saturday. Unfortunately we didn't take many pictures because our camera battery was dying. Of course I had bought Noah the most adorable grey cord blazer and grey-blue knit hat to wear to the wedding but it was far too warm for all that. I must photograph him in that outfit. Posted by Picasa